AEC Office


The decisions of the Council and the General Assembly are implemented by the AEC Office, which is located at Keltenlaan / Avenue des Celtes 20, 1040 Brussels, Belgium. The AEC Office consists of a core team of Chief Executive, General Manager/Deputy CEO, Events and Project Manager and Office Manager, which is supplemented during major projects by dedicated project staff. The AEC Office also regularly welcomes student interns, who gain valuable experience during their placements as well as making an essential contribution to the smooth running of the Association.  

Stefan Gies

Chief Executive

Stefan Gies, Professor of Music education at Hochschule für Musik Dresden and former Rector of this institution (2003-2010) became AEC Chief Executive in September 2015.
Born in 1954 in Landau, Stefan Gies is trained as a viola player (he performed e.g. in professional orchestras and as a member of an ensemble for contemporary music), as a composer, and in the fields of rock and jazz music. He worked as a classroom and instrumental teacher and got his doctorate degree in music pedagogy. Looking back to 30 years of teaching in higher music education institutions, Stefan has also written and edited educational materials and scientific publications, namely within the fields of cultural studies and philosophy of music education. Stefan is actively involved in AEC since 2007: he took part in the ‘Polifonia’ working group on accreditation in higher music education (2007-2010), in the AEC Quality Enhancement Committee (2011-2014) and is currently chairing the working group “Evaluation for Enhancement” within the FULL SCORE project. Stefan can be reached via email

Linda Messas

General Manager/Deputy CEO

Linda joined the AEC in March 2007 as project administrator of the 'Accreditation in European Higher Music Education' project.  She coordinated the ERASMUS Network for Music ‘Polifonia’ (2007-2010) and the AEC Institutional and Programme Review Scheme. Linda is General Manager since January 2011 and supports the CEO in managing the AEC Office. Linda also works for the new external evaluation body MusiQuE - Music Quality Enhancement. Linda has a Master in European Politics from the Institute of Political Sciences in Strasbourg. She is French, speaks English and some German and works hard on her Dutch. She can be reached via e-mail.

Sara Primiterra

Events and Project Manager

Sara joined the AEC team in February 2009, first as an intern and then as project administrator for the Sida Project for the Western Balkans “Widening Participation on the Road to  Membership”. She coordinated the European Students Chamber Orchestra Tour 2011 and in September 2010 she became the Office Manager of the AEC. Since November 2011 Sara has been the Events Manager of the AEC, being in charge of the organization of the AEC  Annual Congress, the IRC Meeting and the thematic Platforms. She also represents the AEC at international  meetings. Sara has got a Master of Science in Economics and Management of Arts and Culture at Bocconi Business University in Milan with a final dissertation on conservatories’ international relations. She was also trained as a musician and she got a violin degree at Conservatorio di Novara (Italy). Sara is Italian, speaks  English, some French and Spanish and some Dutch. Her main fields of interest are: management of cultural and educational institutions, event management and international relations. She can be reached via e-mail.

Esther Nass

Office Coordinator

Esther joined the AEC team in autumn 2016 as intern, and returned as Office Coordinator in 2017 after finishing the Master Euroculture at the University of Groningen and the University of Göttingen. She has been involved in several cultural projects, varying from organising tours for youth orchestras to facilitating cultural dialogue online, as well as working for a education training leaders and managers in the cultural sector. At the AEC she works on the financial and project administration, besides supporting the AEC members and the Council. She likes to play the flute and the piano, and sings when she thinks no one can hear her. She speaks Dutch, English and German and is working on her French. She can be reached via e-mail.

Jef Cox

Project Coordinator

Jef joined the AEC team in January 2015, first as an intern and later as Project Coordinator. His work focuses primarily on activities relating to quality assurance and learning outcomes. Jef contributes as Policy and Review Officer to the daily operation of MusiQuE – Music Quality Enhancement, the independent European evaluation body for higher music education, and regularly represents MusiQuE at events and meetings around Europe. He holds a Master’s degree in History and a Master’s degree in European Studies, both from the University of Leuven (Belgium). As a bassoonist and pianist, he has been closely involved in several orchestras and ensembles. Jef is Belgian, speaks Dutch and English, and is working to improve his French. He can be reached via email.


Paulina Gut

Project, Communication and Events Coordinator
Paulina joined the AEC team in September 2017 as an intern and later as Project, Communication and Events Coordinator. She graduated from the Music Academy of Cracow (Poland) with a Master's Degree in Arts. She plays the piano. She also hold a Music Teaching Diploma obtained at Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles. She is dedicated to culture as an active professional musician and music teacher. Paulina also has a broad experience of working in the field of music including management, production and communication. She worked as a trainee with the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel and Brussels Philharmonic. She is currently studying the Cultural Management program at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Paulina is Polish and speaks French, English, Italian and improving her Dutch. She can be reached via email.

Nina Scholtens

Communication, Office and Project Assistant

Nina joined the AEC team in February 2018. She is currently studying European Studies at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in Maastricht. In her spare time, she likes to sing, dance salsa and play piano. She has been involved in organizing several projects for students at university and has co-organized a cultural singing event in Maastricht. At the AEC, she works on the organization and coordination of events and helps out in the day-to-day office tasks. Nina is Dutch and speaks English, Spanish, German and is working to improve her French. She can be reached via email.

Claudia Zeng

AEC Intern

Claudia joined the AEC team in May 2018. She is currently a student at Rome Business School, studying her Master in Arts and Culture Management. Previously, she attended the University of Nottingham as a Music student, with a focus on piano performance. She has experience in organising choir concerts, music tours, repetiteuring and musical directing. Claudia is British Chinese and speaks English, Cantonese, Mandarin, and is working on her French. She can be reached via e-mail.